The affluent Chicago suburb of Highland Park is known for its picturesque suburban homes and tree-lined streets, but a shooting at a Fourth of July parade Monday where six people were killed and at least two dozen more wounded has left it reeling this holiday weekend.
The fatal shooting occurred during Highland Park’s annual 4th of July Parade. Due to the pandemic, that event hadn’t been held since since 2019.
The event was scheduled to begin with a parade for children and pets, followed by a larger parade hosted by the City and Park District. But authorities say a gunman opened fire, apparently from a rooftop, on a parade route around 10:15 a.m. local time Monday.
“On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we are instead mourning the tragic loss of life and struggling with the terror that was brought upon us,” Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said Monday.
Where is Highland Park?
Highland Park — which has a population of about 30,000, according to the 2020 U.S. Census — sits about 25 miles north of Chicago along Lake Michigan. The North Shore city is largely made-up of suburbs with a Central Business District as well as a handful of beaches and lakefront trails.
Highland Park’s population is largely affluent compared to the rest of Illinois: the city’s median household income was $147,067 in 2020: more than twice the median household income for the country and the state of Illinois, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. About three-quarters of the city’s residents over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
More than 10% of the homes in the city are worth more than $1 million.
As a suburban area, Highland Park caters to many families and couples, with about two-thirds of homes being a married-couple/family household. The city is also majority white — 82.3% of residents — while 8.9% are Hispanic or Latino, 3.7% are Asian and 1.6% are Black.
What is Highland Park known for?
The area has been used for location shots in several films, including the 1980s John Hughes movies Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, Sixteen Candles and Home Alone, as well as Risky Business.
What is the Highland Park Fourth of July Parade?
The suburban city’s Fourth of July parade normally features “floats, marching bands, novelty groups, community entries and other special entertainment,” according to the city’s website. The parade then typically leads into a festival with food, music, carnival rides and games, as well as the “Grand Finale” performance of the Bitter Jester Music Festival — an annual professional battle-of-the-bands style festival held throughout the summer in the city.
Contributing: Grace Hauck, USA TODAY